More than 300 people have lost their lives to him Strong Typhoon Ray at Philippines which destroyed homes, flooded cities, caused severe damage to electricity and telecommunications networks, and forced hundreds of thousands of people in the central and southern parts of the country to flee their homes.
Navy aircraft and warships today carried aid to areas hit by the hurricane, as the country was hit by the strongest of the kind of weather that has hit the archipelago this year.
“We are still assessing the damage, but it is huge,” Defense Minister Delphine Lorenzana told reporters today. “The first thing we do is address the issue of water and food supplies and the medical care of the injured.” He instructed the armed forces to transport humanitarian aid using all available means and to send more troops if necessary.
The death toll has risen sharply today as rescue efforts continue in the affected areas.
By 12.00 Greek time, the death toll due to Ray had reached 375, police said in a statement, making it one of the deadliest hurricanes to hit the state of Southeast Asia. The number of injured has risen to 500 while 56 people are missing.
The toll, which police say remains to be confirmed, far exceeds the 58 deaths recorded by the national disaster service, which said it was still verifying reports from affected areas.
Most of the deaths reported by police are in the central Visayas region, where Bohol province is one of the most popular tourist destinations, as well as the Karaga area in northeastern Mindanao.
Gov. Arthur Yap told CNN Philippines he feared the death toll could rise further as a lack of a telephone connection made it difficult to gather information.
Hurricane Rai, which struck the Philippines on Thursday, forced nearly 490,000 people to flee their homes.